27th Apr2016

’13 Cameras’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: PJ McCabe, Sean Carrigan, Sarah Baldwin, Brianne Moncrief, Neville Archambault | Written and Directed by Victor Zarcoff

13-cameras-poster

Newlyweds Claire and Ryan have just moved into a new house. Both are hoping Claire’s pregnancy will be the cement needed to hold their already fraying relationship together. Little do they know their marital issues are the least of their problems. For unbeknownst to them, their scruffy, sleazy and lascivious landlord Gerald has installed numerous miniature cameras all over their home and has been spying on them from Day One. Then Ryan begins an office affair, and the landlord kits out the secret basement with chains and soundproofing…

There’s something to be said about the horror genre’s ability to tap into the mood of society. 13 Cameras is the latest movie to in a long line of genre films that captures and reflects what’s happening in the “real world”… We’re living in an age of surveillance and lack of personal privacy, its the price we have paid for being always online, connecting to others on social media, for wanting to feel safe – because we all know that CCTV equals safety right? (note the sarcasm). But being constantly watched always, always, has it consequences. It only takes, as is evident in Victor Zarcoff’s film, one man – one rotten apple – to twist those bastions of safety for their own voyeuristic, sleazy pleasure.

Deftly played by actor Neville Archambault – whose dedication to this character is not only visible in his appearance but also in the grotesque mannerisms he takes on – Gerald is the type of role that has a long history in horror. He’s Psycho‘s Norman Bates, he’s Human Centipede 2‘s Martin, he’s the human monster we’re told to fear as kids – that man who doesn’t fit into societies clean-cut mould. Yet, it turns out we SHOULD fear him! But hey, I always love a movie where the bad guy wins…

But are we also not to blame for a villain like Gerald? Alongside the rise in surveillance by governments, and other shady “security agencies”, the public have also grown to love their voyeuristic gaze. From reality television, to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Plus YouTube, Twitch, vlogging; hell, even dirt sheets like TMZ, Just Jared and Perez Hilton – they all feed on our desire to know what everyone’s doing all the time, be they friend or celebrity. Some might say that for a growing portion of society its becoming something of an addiction. An addiction that 13 Cameras‘s protagonist Gerald has succumbed to. In a VERY big way.

To be frank I did not expect to enjoy, let alone like, this movie. The synopsis sounded too familiar, the artwork undersold the film, and from what I saw I thought we were in for another middle-of-the-road “crowdpleaser”, the likes of which are churned out by Blumhouse and co. on a seemingly monthly basis. But that is something which 13 Cameras certainly is not. Instead it’s a reflection of we the audience. Aren’t we all, in some way, just like Gerald? We may not take it to the same extremes but we all have that voyeur inside of us and this film is like looking into a mirror at ourselves, at society, and seeing what we could become. That is what’s truly horrifying about 13 Cameras.

***** 5/5

13 Cameras is available now via all food VOD outlets

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